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NEWS | June 16, 2015

JB Charleston civilan completes AF-Navy PT test at 76

By Senior Airman Sydney Manning Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Most people leave the physical training test behind when they leave the service, but, for one retired master chief petty officer, the PT test is what keeps him young.

Born on May 20, 1939, Sam Kirton enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 12, 1957. After 22 years of service, including tours aboard the aircraft carriers the USS Essex, USS Independence, and the USS Forrestal, he retired at the rank of master chief petty officer. Now 76 years old, he works as a civilian at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

These days you can find Kirton keeping up with old shipmates, working on the heating, venting and air conditioning systems on the base and, of course, at the gym. He started training for the 1.5 mile run about 18 months ago and says, over the course of his training, he's become much stronger and lost about 10 pounds.

Kirton says he just wants to live a long time, be healthy and show up some of the younger fellows. It is his belief that if he can pass the test with a score of 90 percent or better, he can set an example for the younger people who are still in the service. This time, Kirton's goal was to do 30 push-ups, 42 sit-ups and complete the 1.5 mile run in less than 15 minutes.

On June 10, 2015 Members of JB Charleston took turns running each of the six laps with him out on the track. However, for the last lap, his supporters all ran with him, stopping just short of the finish line to let him pass. Sam completed his test with 30 push-ups, 45 sit-ups and a run time of 14:46. His adjusted score was 96.5 percent, 1.5 percent higher than his original goal of 95. 

"I'm real proud of you, Sam," said Col. Jeffrey DeVore, JB Charleston commander, as they shook hands after the score was read out. DeVore also presented Kirton with a coin to commemorate the event.

Kirton says his main goal is to continue to inspire those still serving to do their very best. "You can't sit around with no goals," he says. By working hard at your personal fitness, you can give yourself something to be really proud of."

As for his time in the Navy, Sam says he wouldn't change anything. "If I was 18 again, I would join all over again."